Saturday, January 30, 2010

Australia Day Weekend - Part 1 - Home to Three Mile Dam

Our Australia Day weekend trip was a fantastic tour through some of the NSW and Victorian High Country.  We did camp for three nights, all three nights were low cost but none were pet friendly.  The other thing that was a bit different this time was 'the road less traveled' aspect of the break.

We covered about 1000km in the four days away from home, and the vast majority of it was on unsealed road and four wheel drive tracks.  The first day out we traveled from Yass to Wee Jasper the usual was, but headed into the Brinabella Ranges and then crossed in to Kosciusko National Park.  Our starting point was the probably unfortunately named Broken Cart Trail.


Our first 'waypoint' was to be Blue Water Holes some 26km into the park.
The trail in is a 4WD recommended trail. We struck out along the trail, looking for the famous brumbies.  I  was surprised when we spotted two, close to the trail, and we stopped the car for a short while to try and get a couple of photos.  Interestingly the brumbies were extremely shy and nervous while we were stopped.  We didn't get out of the vehicle to avoid them bolting, but the kept a cautious distance.  The edged away from us, and we decided to push on.  I was surprised that I did get a couple of really good pics.

Snowy Mountain brumby

Pushing on we were keen to have a look at Blue Water  Hole and Coolamine Homestead.  Both are located on the Blue Water Hole Fire Trail, which runs off Long Plain Road.  Broken Cart Trail joins Long Plain Road and everything is well signposted.

The first stop was to be the Homestead.  Throughout the High Country there are a number of historic huts and houses.  Many have been restored and provide valuable insights into early life in the High Country.  When I was researching the trip there was a fair bit of information available about the Homestead, and one thing that had me keen to visit was the newspaper on the walls.  I had read that the paper was beginning to deteriorate, and in some places it had been covered with Perspex.

When we arrived at the Homestead I was fairly surprised that it is actually a small complex of buildings that were used to run the cattle station.  The 'ruins' of the cattle yards are also a part of the complex.  We wandered through the complex and came away from the buildings with a real respect for the High Country pioneers.

As an aside the newspaper is deteriorating, much of it is dated 1930 to 1939.  If you are keen to see it you should consider visiting the locality sooner rather than later.  I should also point out that you cannot camp in the the area of the homestead.  There are however, other campsites nearby.

The complex

Stock yards

Newspaper as wallpaper, protected by perspex

 Back in the vehicle and along the fire trail a bit further there are a number of small campgrounds - all of which had fairly new looking composting toilets.

We arrived at Blue Water Holes mid-morning as groups of campers were having morning tea and others were heading off into the limestone caves that the area is known for.  There are apparently five caves open to the public without a permit.

Rock formations at Blue Water Holes

OK - it looks 'bluer' when you are there.

We will revisit the area at some stage in the future...  The campground has a composting toilet, but is relatively small.  I didn't check for water but would suggest that it would be safer to take your own.  It also looked like a real family spot, lots of kids and teens about.

We left the campground and continued along Long Plain Road out of the park onto the Snowy Mountains Highway.  After a short run up the highway we found the turn off to Yarangobilly Caves.  This was our planned lunch stop.  We briefly called into the visitor centre and paid the $3 park use fee and set off for the thermal pool for a quick dip.  Worth the $3 - but beware 10 minute walk in 20 minute walk out.  It's a fairly big hill.

The thermal pool
There are caves in the area and some are self-guided - meaning that there is no additional cost to visit them.  That makes the $3 park use fee a bit of a bargain.

We packed the wet clothes and the remnants of lunch up and set of for the next part of the trip - a short trek from Yarrangobilly Village to Three Mile Dam camping area via Lobbs Hole.  The track was again a 4WD recommended track and a fun drive, if steep in places.

Spectacular view from the 4WD

The trail then dropped to Lobs Hole (also called Ravine) where we needed to cross the Yarrangobilly River.

Yarrangobilly River crossing

The water was clear, about knee deep - on my standard Land Rover Discovery it came to about the bottom of the doors.  We parked up and walked back to the crossing.  The water was warm and there were plenty of campers around.  The river bed was smooth rock, making it an easy crossing for most standard 4WD and even AWD vehicles.

Both gold and copper were mined in the area and the Kiandra residents apparently used to shelter in the area during winter.  There are partial ruins of the hotel near the river crossing.

Mud ruins at Lobs Hole

  We then set off again for the last part of the trip - an 800m climb back to the Link Road and the entry to the Three Mile Dam Camping area.

Three Mile Dam was built in 1882 to provide water for sluicing at the New Chum Hill gold mine.  The dam is still there as are some of the ruins.  We set up for the night and managed, in the breeze to break a part of the tent!

The campsite
Broken tent

So that was day 1 - lots of dirt driving and some frustration at the end of the day with a broken tent fitting.  We called it a night.

OK - some camping stuff...
Access:  2WD - a few not.
Toilets: Some - long drop.
Showers: No.
Water: No.
Shop: No - drive to Talbingo.
Campfires: Yes - subject to firebans.
Pets: No - Part of Kosciusko National Park
Cost: Free.

GPS:  35.88638S  148.4527E


1 comment:

  1. Thank you kindly for your report & photo's.

    Now that I have more time on my hands I plan to camp around those parts & so I've filed your information for future reference. Shame about not being dog friendly though.